Wow! Another year has passed. Each year brings more joy, hardship, pleasure, tears, fun and deep love. This year has been a roller coaster for sure, but we’re still on the ride!
2019 was not all roses and butterflies. The Stammeyer Farmstead saw some major challenges. In January, I checked into an intensive outpatient mental health program to go to battle with my depression. I was in a really unhealthy place and I knew there was a better option. I built up my team, I leaned on the people I needed, and I fought hard. And I am so proud to say I won that battle. Depression is an ugly beast, but it can be overcome! I continue to put in the work and occasionally get out my sword and shield. I have come to the conclusion that while it may try, depression has no place in my life.
We also saw some major changes on our farm. With the beef market and entire agricultural economy falling, we were forced to make some big decisions. In efforts to maintain the land we have and provide the best we can for our family, we chose to sell 90% of our Angus herd, keeping back only a handful. This was devastating for Ross, feeling as though he was failing at the passion he has spent so many years perfecting. We went through lots and lots of options, and this was the best choice for now. Our plan is that this is simply a pause in our beef cattle journey and that in a few years we will get back into the game. For now we will focus on our crops and few cows and showing our children first hand the “American Dream” we are living.
Don’t worry, this isn’t all bad news!! We have been extremely blessed this year is so many ways!
First and foremost, we have three amazing, smart, talented, strong, health children. Josiah (7) is in first grade and making huge leaps this year. He continues to love to farm and is building an interest in sports and friends. He is quickly becoming a critical player in farm maintenance, helping with chores and following his daddy everywhere. It won’t be long before he’s driving tractors (much to his mother’s dismay!) Charlotte (5) began Kindergarten this year. She LOVES school and is an excellent student. She loves to play with barbies and dollies and hates to clean her room. A high lights this summer was joining swim team along with her older brother. Eli (4) continues to be the one to give me grey hairs but is also my best snuggle buddy. Eli enjoys his days alone with mom when the bigs are at school and is always so excited when they come home. Eli loves anything paw patrol, tractors and his “very best buddy, Bemo.” All three of our kiddos are doing great things and we know that will continue for 2020!
I started a new job in February, working at the local fitness center and teaching a chair exercise class. In September I added “Substitute Teacher” and confirmation guide to my resume as well. I enjoy the flexibility this schedule provides which give me time to love and support my family. Ross continues to haul pigs and loves bacon. Ross added a new love to his life this summer, a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He’s always wanted one and he has a great wife 😉
In June we spent a week camping in Door County with my parents, exploring and spending time together. We also spent many nights on our deck (don’t forget, every Thursday, you’re invited out!!), driving tractors and 4-wheelers, playing games, going to sporting events, lots of ice cream and kwik trip visits, enjoying many friends and making lots of memories.
Life is never boring on the Stammeyer Farmstead. Challenges will always be present. But the love shared here is deeper and stronger then any obstacle and will surely weather any storm. We hope you will come see us very soon, you are always welcome. And we wish you a year of happiness and joy in 2020.
Merry Christmas and Happy Harvesting,
Leah, you wrote a beautiful Christmas letter! My heart goes out to you and Ross … Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!
Loved your letter, love your family, Merry Christmas and hang in there.